Choosing a Course of
Choosing a Major, and Classes that You Are
Interested in Studying
and graduate studies represent a considerable investment in time, effort, and
money. If you select a course of study that you are not interested in,
you will be faced with several years of drudgery and boredom. You will have to
rely on your willpower and self-discipline, to force yourself to complete
assignments and to attend classes. This can lead to low grades or failing
marks, especially if you are distracted by activities you find more interesting
and pleasing then your studies.
The idea here is to choose a course of study that you can enjoy, or
at the very least tolerate.
This should involve some careful thinking, Internet research, and perhaps some
trial and error. Students often change their majors or concentrations during
their first two years of college. Thus, trial and error is feasible, in most schools,
as long as it does not involve failing grades.
some people, choosing a course of study based on their long-term interests or
hobbies is a good option. However, some students may not have any clearly
defined interest in any of the available courses. In such a case, creating a
list of courses in descending order of interest may be helpful. This involves
placing courses that you think you might be interested in, on the top of your
list, and courses you are least interested in at the bottom of your list. This
should be done on the computer screen, so you can easily rearrange the courses.
Rearranging will probably be necessary as you obtain more information about
each course. The information you need in this regard, is obtainable from your
school bulletin, instructors, advisers, other students, and Internet research. The
more information you obtain about the courses the more useful your list will
in mind that the primary idea of the list is to facilitate your thought
processes, and to help you determine what classes to take, and what classes to
avoid. This list will also be helpful in choosing courses that relate to your
occupational objective, and abilities, which is discussed in the following
Choose a Course of Study that Relates to Your Occupational
important consideration is your vocational goals after you complete school.
Your course of study ideally should be focused on your occupational
objectives. This is not always feasible, because many students are unsure of
their future occupations. If this is the case, you should start some exploration in terms of
occupational objectives. This can involve talking to counselors, exploring
occupations on the Internet, and talking to people that you know in various
additional information from other authors, see the following websites: 1) Choosing
a Course, 2) How to Choose the
Right Course, 3) 20
top tips for picking a course,
4) Video: How to pick a course
to study, 5) Video:
How to Choose a Major, 6) Video: Choosing A Major,
7) Video: Choosing
the Right Degree.
An Adequate Academic
Background For the Courses You Take
Before Registering, Evaluate Each Class, to
in college and graduate school, often assumes the student already has developed
a background in the subject. For example, an introductory course in college
chemistry might be focused on students that are skillful in mathematics,
science, and have completed two terms of high school chemistry. A focus of
this nature may not be officially stated in the course bulletin, and there may
not be any official requirements to register for the course. This is
especially the case for introductory classes.
courses, often indicate the prerequisites
in the course bulletin. However, this can sometimes be deceiving, because the
bulletin may not provide enough details about the necessary background to do
well in the course.
idea to keep in mind is a student that has an inadequate academic background
for a specific course, might have difficulty comprehending the coursework.
This may require many additional hours of frustrating study, which may lead to
a low-grade or a failing mark.
To avoid the problems mentioned above,
try to find out everything about a class before you register for it.
Especially important is the precise material that will be studied. If the
material is unfamiliar to you, and you cannot understand the introductory
chapters of the textbook used in the course, you may not have the required
background. You can probably obtain information about the textbooks, and the
class itself, from instructors. The information that you must seek and
evaluate for yourself, relates to the actual material studied in the course,
not whether the instructors or advises, believe the course will be easy or
difficult for you. However, if advises or instructors indicate that a course
is difficult, and many students drop out, be extra cautious, and be certain
that you are well prepared, before you take such a course.
If You Register for a Course that is More
Difficult than You Anticipated What Are Your Options
you register for a course, and you are experiencing more difficult these then
the other students in the class, you should evaluate your risks of a failing
grade. Ideally, this should be done before you actually fail any tests. Failing
is not an acceptable option in most colleges and graduate schools. However,
there are three good options listed below.
a class that might lead to failure is a good option. This can be done without
penalty in most schools if a class is dropped within the first week or two of
good option for a class that might lead to a very low grade is to take the
class for a pass-fail mark. In most schools the student can select this
option, after the midterm test, or even later. Usually, pass-fail grades are
not calculated in the grade point average.
third option for difficult courses that might lead to failure is to invest additional
time, and effort in studying the course material. This might require many additional hours of study each week. Ideally,
this should include the services of a tutor, to ensure success. Many universities provide tutors for
some courses, without additional charges. This usually includes mathematics
and English composition courses.
Developing an Adequate Background for a
you believe you do not have an adequate background for a course, which you are
required to take, or want to take, you can develop the knowledge and skills
needed for the course. Three strategies for developing an adequate academic
background for a course are presented below.
any course that you believe will provide the academic background you need.
This can involve a preparation course, which may be available in your college. However,
the credits from preparation courses usually cannot be used to satisfy degree
requirements, but they can be used for financial aid requirements.
alternative to prepare for a difficult college-level course is to take a high
school course, at a night school. This can be a good strategy for inadequate
knowledge and skills in mathematics, science, and literature.
is another option to prepare for a difficult college-level course. This can
include studying from the Internet, which has videos on many subjects, some of
which are free online courses. The self-study should be started at least three
months before you register for the college-level course.
An Important Idea to Keep In Mind
general, there are three primary factors that determine success in a college
or graduate level course. These factors are 1) adequate
academic background that relates to the course, 2) adequate
study skills that relate to the course, and 3) adequate
time and inclination to carry out the necessary homework for the course.
Usually when the above factors are high in relation to a specific course, your
grade will be high, and vice a versa.
Making Your Study Time
Strategies to Make Your Study Time Enjoyable
to make your study time as enjoyable as possible. This can be achieved by
identifying factors that make your study time unpleasant, and eliminating them.
In addition, incorporate anything into your study routine that makes your
study time pleasant. How to do this is explained under the following eight subheadings.
How to Avoid Eyestrain while Studying
at a computer screen, or book, for an extended time interval can cause
eyestrain, and discomfort. This can be reduced or eliminated by periodically
blinking a few times, and focusing your eyes on a distant object. Proper room
lighting is also helpful. Lights should never shine directly in your eyes, or
directly on a computer screen. Another way to reduce eyestrain is to increase
the size of the text on your computer screen.
additional information from other authors, see the following websites: 1) Computer Eye Strain,
on reducing computer eyestrain,
3) Video, Rule to avoid eye
strain, 4) Six
Ways of Reducing Eye Strain Caused by Computers,
5) How to Avoid Eye Strain,
can I make the text on my screen larger?,
webpage text size in Internet Explorer,
to Change Font Size for Google Chrome,
do I enlarge or reduce the font size on my web browser?,
to change the text size on the computer monitor,
To make the text on your screen larger or smaller
How to Reduce the Strain on Your Body,
in a fixed position, for an extended time interval, while studying, can place
physiological stress on your body, which results in unpleasant sensations. This
strain can affect your blood circulation and your entire body, but most people
are likely to feel the discomfort in their neck and/or back. This strain can
be eliminated by periodically changing your position while studying. These
benefits can be greatly enhanced by getting up from your chair every hour or
so, for a five minute exercise break. This can involve some brief stretching,
and some quick movements with the hands and feet. However, you should not let
your exercise break distract you from your studies. You must be cautious in
this regard, because some people may find it difficult to return to their
additional information from other authors, see the following websites: 1) Video
on avoiding back & neck pain when studying,
Pain From Studying: Is Your Posture the Problem?,
to Avoid Back and Neck pain while Studying,
Your Laptop Hurting You?,
5) Video: Ten Minute Exercise
Study Break, 6) Video: Study Break
Exercises to Tone Your Whole Body,
7) Video: Study Break
How to Avoid Fatigue While Studying
exercise breaks, mentioned above, will help you reduce fatigue while studying.
You can also avoid fatigue by avoiding large meals before studying, especially
if the food contains a lot of fat or carbohydrates. Eating small meals that
are easily digested before studying is not likely to result in fatigue.
most important way to prevent fatigue while studying is to get seven or eight
hours sleep each day. For some people, inadequate sleep during the night can
be supplemented with one or two short naps, during the day.
additional information from other authors, see the following websites: 1) How
to Fight Tiredness and Boredom while Studying or Working,
2) Video #7-Fatigue,
3) Video: What to do for
tiredness? 3 Foods to Avoid,
4) How to Overcome Fatigue,
Mental Fatigue–Good Study Habits,
10 tips to beat fatigue, 7) How
to Fight Fatigue While Studying,
to feel refreshed even after too little sleep,
That Cause Fatigue, 10) Food
and Fatigue: When Eating Makes You Tired,
fatigue - top foods, herbs, supplements and tips,
12) The following video is very good, and it
deals with fatigue, and memory. How
to Study Effectively & Avoid Becoming Fatigued While Studying by Michael J
Keeping Your Body in Good Physical
Condition will Make Your Studies and Life More Enjoyable
your body in good physical condition is likely to help you indirectly with your
studies. This includes a well-balanced diet, proper body weight, and regular
exercise sessions. The exercise should be at least 30 minutes a day. This
should include some stretching, cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging and/or
fast walking. Resistance exercises with weights and/or springs should also be
included in your exercise plans.
people find that the gym is the best place to exercise, but from the perspective
of studying this may not be the ideal. This is because going to the gym is
likely to involve an hour or two of preparation time, such as changing to gym
clothing, and traveling to and from the gym. It can also involve
time-consuming problems or distractions, such as waiting for exercise
equipment. When you come home from the gym, you will probably be to tie it to
more efficient way of exercising is to have some simple equipment in your room,
which you can use when you have an extra few minutes. You can also do your
exercise during 15-minute study breaks.
additional information, from other authors, see the following websites: 1) The
Benefits of Physical Activity,
7 benefits of regular physical activity,
Exercise Can Help Us Learn,
the link between exercise and learning.
is not an effective way to learn, and it can be very unpleasant. Cramming
usually results in a low grade, and a loss of sleep. The loss of sleep is
likely to result in fatigue, which can make it difficult to pass examinations.
most efficient learning strategy, involve studying course material over a
period of weeks, in the sequence that is presented in the classroom. This
generally involves approximately the same time investment in homework each
week. For example, for a three-credit course, you might study six hours each
week. This can involve some additional study time to review material before a
A Comfortable Room for Studying, Without Distractions, and
should feel comfortable in the room you use for your studies, and it should not
contain anything that will distract you from your work, such as loud noises.
Most students would probably do best in a room without any noise.
room temperature is important. You should adjust the room temperature so you
do not feel cold or uncomfortably warm. The ideal temperature for studying
will vary from one person to another. The room temperature that you feel
comfortable with is also likely to very, based on the clothing you are wearing,
the time of day, the overall physiological state of your body, and the level of
physical activity you engaged in before you started your work. To obtain a truly
comfortable room temperature, you will need an air conditioner for the summer.
You also might need a small electric heater to provide additional heat during
the colder months of the year.
lighting is very important. There should not be any light shining in your eyes
or on your computer screen. Light from windows, table lamps, and floor lamps
often cause these problems. You can adjust the position of lamps to reduce
these difficulties. If light from the window is causing a problem, such as
glare on a computer screen, pull the window shades down. Ideally, all the
light should be coming from ceiling fixtures, and not from lamps or windows.
This is because ceiling fixtures are unlikely to cause any of the problems
you are studying in a public facility, such as a student lounge, or library,
the above obviously does not apply. However, you can make adjustments with
your clothing so you do not feel cold, or uncomfortably warm. If the facility
is noisy, you can use earplugs, or find a different location for your studies.
additional information from other authors, see the following websites: 1) The
Science of How Temperature and Lighting Impact Our Productivity,
2) Effective study
environments, 3) Best Study Room,
Plugs for Studying: Which Ones Do I Use?,
5) Does temperature impact
student performance?, 6) Video: Study Room Makeover.
Studying with Other People
people study with other people, which may be more pleasant then studying
alone. This works well for some students, especially if they have a study
group that is focused on the same curriculum. However, study groups can be
counterproductive if they distract you from the precise material that you must
study to pass your courses. Even if study groups work well for you, it might
be advisable to do some of your studies alone.
Studying with Music
people prefer to listen to music while studying. This might be a useful
strategy for some students, if it is not distracting. This might be achievable
with music without any vocalizations. The best music might be designed for
studying, such as the YouTube music videos presented at the end of this
students might find that they study more efficiently without music. However,
this loss of efficiency might be offset for some students, if they can study
longer with pleasant music in the background.
additional information from other authors, and for music designed for studying,
see the following websites: 1) Does
Music Help You Study?, 2) Should
you listen to music while studying?,
Can Help You Study, 4) Music
as a Study Aid, 5) Video: Research Suggests
Listening To Music While Studying May Be A Bad Idea,
6) A video with music: Music
to Help Study and Work, 7) A video with music: 2 HOUR
LONG Piano Music for Studying, Concentrating, and Focusing,
8) A video with music: BEST
Music for Studying, Concentration, and Work,
9) A video with music: 1
HOUR LONG Music for Studying and Work, Concentration, and Focus,
webpage has a number of videos with study music: COMPLETE Study Music
Playlist (from Study Music Project),
11) Study Aid for Super
Learning and Memory: 2 Hours of Alpha BiNaural Beats for Study, Focus, Memory.
Use Trial and Error, to Make Your Study
Time Pleasant and Efficient
should try various strategies to make your study time pleasant and efficient.
This should include some of your own ideas. This involves trial and error to
determine what works for you. You should modify a strategy, based on your own
experience and needs, to optimize the pleasantness and efficiency of your
additional information, from other authors, see the following websites: 1) How to Have Fun
While Studying, 2) How to Enjoy Your Study,
3) How to enjoy studying?
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Chapter 14) Strategies
For Productive And Pleasant Studies.
Access Additional Information with Hyperlinks.
a Course of Study
Major, and Classes that You Are Interested in Studying
Course of Study that Relates to Your Occupational Objectives
Adequate Academic Background For the Courses You Take
Registering, Evaluate Each Class, to Avoid Failure
Register for a Course that is More Difficult than You Anticipated What Are
an Adequate Background for a Course
Important Idea to Keep In Mind
Your Study Time Enjoyable
to Make Your Study Time Enjoyable
Avoid Eyestrain while Studying
Reduce the Strain on Your Body, While Studying
Avoid Fatigue While Studying
Your Body in Good Physical Condition will Make Your Studies and Life More
Comfortable Room for Studying, Without Distractions, and
with Other People
and Error, to Make Your Study Time Pleasant and Efficient
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